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From: TSS ()
Date: July 29, 2005 at 2:35 pm PST

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ames lab to take over testing for mad cow disease
Published: 07/29/2005 3:52 PM

By: Associated Press - Associated Press

AMES, IA - Scientists at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories here soon will begin conducting their own Western blot tests, eliminating the need to travel to Weybridge, England, when initial rapid testing detects mad cow disease.

"I think the change is good because we're more likely to know exactly what we're dealing with on each case," said Dr. Randall Levings, director of the labs.

The change is a response to an order from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

"We took those as our marching orders," Levings said.

Mad cow disease, formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, attacks a cow's nervous system. It is characterized by spongelike holes in the brain, the result of misshapen proteins called prions that kill brain cells.

The only way it is known to spread is by cattle eating infected brain and nerve tissue from other cows. That's why the government in 1997 banned the use of cattle feed that contains remnants of other cows. Of the three cases of mad cow confirmed in the United States, all three cows were born before the feed ban, Levings said.

Since January 2004, the government has tested more than 400,000 cows for the disease, using a rapid screening test and a test known immunohistochemistry, or IHC.

Rapid testing of a sample involves removing normal proteins and adding chemicals that bind to the abnormal proteins, making them visible. The IHC test involves staining paper-thin brain tissue samples to highlight the abnormal protein.

The Western blot test, conducted at Weybridge destroys normal proteins in the brain, leaving only the abnormal prions.

In June, the nation's Office of Inspector General ordered a review of the Ames lab's testing procedures after a sample last fall tested positive in England, but negative in Ames.

A rapid test on the sample in Ames detected the presence of BSE, but the following IHC test was negative. Ames workers also relayed the results of the test, but did not complete formal paperwork.

A version of mad cow disease, known as variant Creutzfeld-Jakob, has killed about 150 people worldwide, most of them in Britain, where there was an outbreak in the 1990s.

"We're taking all of the right steps," Levings said. "It would not be a risk to human or animal health in this country. It's not high. It's very, very low."

SO, Johann's/GW et al have perfected the BSE/TSE testing protocols and they don't need anyone else to tell them what to do. this was proven with the TEXAS mad cow cases alone,
r i g h t...... $$$ IF this is the case, why is Weybridge having to confirm our inconclusives ??? this is frightening.

IF not for the Honorable Phyllis Fong, that cow would have never been proven postive, well, documented anyway, it was proven postive time and time again...

The Fong Syndrome strikes again.

GW's BSE/TSE MRR policy a recipe for disaster.

USA in dire straights.

God help us... TSS

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